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General News

How Rent Stabilization Replaced Rent Control in New York

August 29, 2022

NEW YORK – Apartments in New York City are amongst the highest in rent nationally, and each year landlords increase rent by an average of 3%. The question is whether existing tenants can survive in a city where expenses constantly rise. Rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments provide an answer.

In the majestic, beautiful city of New York as millions of renters dream for a balance of living the American Dream as well as having an affordable lifestyle.

Amongst the expenses lies the incredibly high rent which only increases as the years go by. Rent controlled apartments no longer exist to the extent that they use to due to tenants moving out of their apartments, thus transforming rent control units into rent stabilized apartments.

For rent control to take place, a tenant must be living continuously in an apartment since 1971. As stated by New York State’s Homes and Community Renewal, rent control is one of the oldest systems of rent regulation as it applies to buildings constructed before 1947. If this system still existed, the real estate world would collapse as neighborhoods which have exploded in real estate value would remain the same in prices, harming the housing industry as there would be no profit coming in.

Bird’s-eye view of NYC. Photo by Austin Scherbarth via Unsplash

What does occur however, is rent stabilization. This is when the rent controlled apartment becomes vacant, meaning that the next tenant will benefit from this outcome as their rent won’t be as high as the market alone would dictate. This form of rent regulation covers buildings built after 1947 and before 1974 as well as apartments which were previously rent-controlled. Rent stabilization is a form of protection for tenants nationally, but specifically beneficial for New Yorkers who struggle with extremely high prices of apartments.

Both of these protections for tenants are found within the purview of the Office of Rent Administration (ORA), as it provides people with affordable housing. Their main goal is to protect tenants in privately owned buildings from illegal increases in rent.

According to NYC’s Rent Guidelines Board, you can identify a rent stabilized building by noticing if the apartment contains 6 or more units, was built before 1974, or if it is not a co-op or condo.

Rent regulation has generally declined over the years. In the past, New York had the country’s most extensive system of rent regulation as it protected tenants from rent increases of much less than 7% plus inflation. But the vacancy of apartments throughout the years has shifted this trend.

However, in 2019, major changes occurred to the city’s rent laws that benefit renters. Prior to this relatively new legislation, landlords had several ways to take apartments out of rent stabilization. If any of the following conditions applied, the unit would cease to be rent stabilized: the landlord renovated the apartment, converted the apartment to a condo, the landlord took over the apartment for his/her own use, the rent reached a certain threshold ($2,775 in 2019), and the tenant earned a certain income ($200,000 in 2019). The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 shut down these as well as other loopholes.

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